Skip to content

Kings’ Mitchell (knee) medically cleared, but hesitant to return — is Sutter annoyed?

Jan 24, 2013, 1:32 PM EDT

Darryl Sutter, Willie Mitchell Getty Images

On Wednesday, LA Kings head coach Darryl Sutter delivered a message to defenseman Willie Mitchell, who’s been cleared to play after lockout knee surgery.

“You know what, he’s got doctor’s clearance,” Sutter told the LA Times. “He’s got trainers’ clearance. Coaches want him to clear himself.

“So do it.”

Is that terseness or bluntness from the bench boss?

Hard to say.

It’s clear Sutter’s none too pleased about his team’s start. The Kings looked flat in a 5-2 loss to Chicago in their home opener, then blew a third period lead in Colorado — prior to that, the Kings went 86-0-9 in 95 games when leading after 40 minutes — to start the season 0-2.

Along the way, he lost the services of defenseman Matt Greene (back) and was forced to give Jake Muzzin (15:23) and Davis Drewiske (10:23) serious minutes against the Avs.

That said, Sutter is a veteran coach and knows it’s far too early to panic.

He’s also been a straight-shooter throughout his career, and this may have been an instance of him simply telling it like it is.

As for Mitchell — well, this isn’t the first time he’s been overly cautious about returning from injury. He suffered a concussion while playing in Vancouver and, after recovering, reflected on the pressure and stress he felt about returning to the ice.

“Everywhere I’d walk: ‘How’s your head? How’s your head?” Mitchell told the Times back in January 2012. “That’s the last thing I wanted to talk about. I just wanted to disconnect from that.

“So that’s what I did. I went to my place in the middle of nowhere in the forest and just chilled.”

While he’s not living in wooded isolation this time around, Mitchell says he’ll still be coming back on his terms.

“I don’t want to get out there and be a liability to my defense partner, to my teammates, to my coach,” he said. “When I come back I don’t want to come back, play the next couple of games and then [the knee] swells up and be out.”

Latest Posts
  1. Sens GM says they’re ‘definitely going to try to keep’ Bobby Ryan

    Aug 20, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Craig Anderson, Kyle Turris, Bobby Ryan, Patrick Wiercioch AP

    He can be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

  2. ‘Canes GM Francis says Semin will be ready for training camp

    Aug 20, 2014, 9:02 PM EDT

    Ron Francis Getty Images

    Recovery from offseason wrist surgery put things in doubt.

  3. Poll: Who will replace Hartnell on Philly’s first line?

    Aug 20, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT

    Brayden Schenn Getty Images

    Giroux and Voracek will need someone new to run with them.

  4. Captain no more: Sharks strip Thornton of ‘C’

    Aug 20, 2014, 5:46 PM EDT

    Joe Thornton Getty Images

    Patrick Marleau can coach him through it.

  5. Tank defense: NHL changes up Draft Lottery format

    Aug 20, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

    Bill Daly lottery Getty Images

    It’s not as good to be the worst anymore.

  6. Under Pressure: Steve Mason

    Aug 20, 2014, 1:55 PM EDT

    stevemasongetty Getty Images

    How will he handle the weight of expectation?

  7. After ‘humbling summer,’ Del Zotto aims to bolster Flyers’ D

    Aug 20, 2014, 12:23 PM EDT

    Michael Del Zotto Getty Images

    “I’m confident in myself and confident I can get back to where I used to be.”

  8. Rangers win Kevin Hayes sweepstakes

    Aug 20, 2014, 11:18 AM EDT

    Kevin Hayes Getty Images

    He’ll be reunited with former Boston College teammate Chris Kreider in New York.

  9. Looking to make the leap: Shayne Gostisbehere

    Aug 20, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    Shayne Gostisbehere Getty Images

    The college star could push to make Philly’s blue line right away.

  10. NHL concussion lawsuits to be consolidated

    Aug 20, 2014, 10:01 AM EDT

    Gary Bettman, Bill Daly AP

    And assigned to a U.S. District Judge in Minnesota.

  11. It’s Philadelphia Flyers Day at PHT

    Aug 20, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Jakub Voracek,  Vincent Lecavalier , Claude Giroux AP

    They hope to improve on their first round loss to the Rangers.

  12. Sens’ Karlsson will accept captaincy if offered

    Aug 19, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT

    Erik Karlsson AP

    He’s not going out of his way for it, however.

  13. Fanspeak: Messier voted greatest Ranger in franchise history

    Aug 19, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    Mark Messier Getty Images

    You earn a lot of votes winning a Stanley Cup.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches